Sunbeam-Talbot 2nd. Simca Sport 3rd. Class Winners Comprise Dyna-Panhard, Volkswagen and Simca Sport. Mrs Molander (Saab) takes Coupe des Dames. Mike Couper’s MkVI Bentley wins Concours de Confort Prix d’Honneur.
Weather conditions for this year’s Monte Carlo Rally were tough, and it is therefore with the maximum of satisfaction that we record how British cars and crews won through. Sydney Allard, with Guy Warburton as co-driver, Tom Lush as navigator, won the Rally outright for Britain in a Type P Allard saloon—first British victory since Donald Healey’s Invicta won in 1931. Stirling Moss, in his first rally, came second, four marks behind, in a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 saloon with Desmond (BRDC) Scannell and John Cooper as his coadventurers. Third place went to Mon and Mme Angelvin in a small ohv eight-speed Simca Sport—truly creditable. It is significant that the winning car had a comparatively “woolly” 4,375 cc V8 side valve engine giving lots of torque at low speed, a three-speed gearbox and simple divided-axle coil spring ifs. Its basic list price is £1,100. It used Dunlop Trakgrip tyres, Pneugrippa-ed, a Trico screen washer, Shell petrol, Vigzol oil, Lucas electrical equipment, and, of course, Ferodo lined its Lockheed brakes and its clutch. In contrast, Moss’ Sunbeam-Talbot had a comparatively high-efficiency 2,267 ohv engine, four-speed box and coil spring ifs. It relied on Dunlop tyres, Shell fuel and oil and Lucas electrics. It cost £845 (basic) at the time of the Rally. Mike Couper, who makes a habit of doing so, won the premier honour in the Concours de Confort with an elaborately equipped Mark VI Bentley saloon. Outstanding was the victory of Greta Molander in the Coupe des Dames, driving a tiny 764-cc two-stroke Saab 92. Salutations on the British victory will be found in this month’s Editorial.
The best way of convincing oneself of the strenuousness of the Monte Carlo Rally and of better appreciating the virtuosity of the cars and crews which won through is to consider the misfortunes of those who failed ! Out of 369 entries, 328 started, but, note, only 163 reached the finish (and not all were on time) and of these only fifteen did so with no loss of marks ; 165 retirements, 148 penalisations ! It tells it own tale. Those excellent fifteen deserve mention : Five Peugeots, two Jaguars, two Simcas and an Allard, Austin, Citroen, Talbot Lago, Sunbeam-Tallbot and Jupiter.
Some were eliminated, or lost a hopeless amount of time, due to mechanical derangements intervening before their 2,000 mile mid-winter journey was completed. The clutch of “Buster” Bartlett’s Vauxhall early began to slip, and a Ford Pilot nearly lost time with an ignition short before Folkestone. Even Allard found a coil working loose after leaving Glasgow. One Javelin blew a gasket, Mrs Vaughan’s Javelin holed its petrol tank and caught tire, on another the throttle wire broke, then, repaired, jammed [we never have liked throttle cables] and another Javelin driver lost marks for opening his bonnet in the Parc Ferme. Foster’s Javelin had a puncture. The Reece brothers went magnificently in their Ford Anglia until a defective fuel pump delayed them.
But mostly the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally was a story of crashes and ditchings in the snow and ice from Clermont-Ferrand onwards. Hereafter conditions were terrible and car after car either collided with objects mobile or stationary or slid into snow banks and ditches.
Ken Wharton’s Ford fell over a ravine on to a crashed Citroen, Gordon Wilkins ditched his Mark VII Jaguar and another car carried away his de-ditching gear as he and Baxter were trying to retrieve it. Louis Chiron’s Alfa-Romeo ditched good and proper, was pulled out, only to be pushed in again by another skidding car. Ellison damaged his Jupiter coupe, Bartlett crashed his Vauxhall, Waring’s Mark VII Jaguar was immobile on sheet ice outside Le Puy. Ace-rally man Ian Appleyard just couldn’t see his way through the blizzard. Becquart hit a dog with his Farina-bodied Jupiter in Paris. So the grim tale went on and on–cars damaged, minor injuries, alas, a fatality when Berger crashed in a Citroen near Rheims. It was a dangerous grim run, and through it all Allard and Moss claimed clean scores for Britain.
There was still the Regularity Test, over snow packed on ice, and in this Allard set seal to his great victory, although he smote a wall hard enough to damage a front wing and buckle a wheel. Moss went off the road momentarily into a snow bank. The final results showed Allard four marks ahead of Moss, both drivers putting up a show for which they deserve the warmest congratulations and which has given a valuable uplift to British prestige.
Fifty cars took this test, which involved averaging exactly 45 kph over a circuit (open to normal traffic !) over the Col de Braus. Actually, of course, 35 of these competitors had already been penalised on the road-section, so that although a Henry J Kaiser and a Javelin did better than the winning Allard and Moss’ Sunbeam-Talbot, they were put back to 20th and 16th places, respectively, when their road misdemeanours were taken into account.
In the first 15 were two Mark VII Jaguars, a Jupiter, and an Austin, Becquart’s Jupiter being second in the 11/2-litre class and David Murray’s Ford Anglia, our least expensive car, third in the 1,100-cc class.
Finally, came the Concours de Confort, in which, again, great prestige is won, for the spectators at Monte Carlo study critically the assembled cars. Tommy Wisdom’s big Hooper-bodied Daimler, which had been amongst the select 50 to get into the Regularity Test and was placed 47th in the final results, seemed a likely winner, but in the end Mike Couper’s Mark VI Bentley was judged the absolute Concours winner with Waring’s Mark VII Jaguar first in the big-car class. Cooper was 103rd in the Rally itself, Waring 156th. Britain scored another outstanding success when the Hillman Minx of Anderson and Kemsley were placed first and second in the 11/2-litre class, Anderson’s also taking the prize for the best Rally-equipped car –a splendid tribute to cars whose basic price at the time was only £450. The German Mercedes-Benz team of Caracciola, Kling and Lang had to be content with the Charles Farenx Cup and special prizes for Rally-equipped cars. The results of a great Rally which proved a severe test, so ably organised by Mon Noghes, follow:-
1st: SH Allard (4,375-cc Allard), 130 marks lost. 2nd : S Moss (2,267-cc Sunbeam-Talbot), 134 marks lost. 3rd : M. Angelvin (1,221-cc Simca Sport) 139 marks lost.
Class winnwers; 750 cc : M Grosgoseat, Dyna,Panhard, 21st. 1,100 cc.: M Nathan (Volkswagen), 52nd. 1.500 cc. : M. Angelvin (Simca-Sport), 3rd.
Coupe des Dames: Mn G Molander (Saab 94), 91st.
Concours des Confort; Prix d’honneur; WM Couper (Bentley) 103rd. Over 1,500 cc : W Waring (Jaguar), 156 th. Up co 1,500 cc : MB Anderson (Hillman-Minx), 157th. Up to 1,100 cc : MW Melide (Saab 92), 67th. Up tp 750 cc : M Dufay (Dyna-Panhard), 100th. Best rally car: MB Anderson (Hillman Minx), 157th.
“Motor Sport” Clubs Trophy
The Motor Sport Clubs Challenge Trophy and £50 cash prize will again be contested this year at Silverstone under the rules which prevailed last year. This year additional prizes of £20 for the driver of the sports-car placed second and £10 for the driver placed third will be awarded. Next month we shall list the Clubs which are putting on the special Motor Sport races in which points are scored in this annual contest.